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Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Wednesday, 6 October 2010 16:45 UK
BBC First Click on BBC Gloucestershire
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More than 9m people in the UK have never used the internet

People across Gloucestershire are being helped to get online as part of the BBC campaign, First Click.

Its main aim is to convince people why they should make their first steps to use the internet.

BBC Gloucestershire ran a series of features on various programmes throughout the week of 18 to 22 October 2010.

First Click coincided with the national initiative, Get Online Week, which ran from 18 to 24 October.

Easier

More than a fifth of people claim they stay offline because they feel they don't have the skills.

But it's easier than you think.

You already know this or else you wouldn't be reading this feature and this is the message we want to spread to anyone you know who might need persuading.

The BBC First Click project has been launched to help people learn new skills or conquer their fear of using a computer to explore the internet for the first time.

Vital services

Recent research carried out by the Citizens Advice Bureau in the Gloucestershire and Bristol region found four in ten people don't have access to the internet.

BBC First Click
The BBC First Click project aims to help novices to explore the internet

The survey found that people are increasingly being excluded from accessing vital services online such as local housing lists and benefits.

A lack of computer skills and costs were shown to be the main barriers.

The top four reasons why people aged 65 and over use the internet are for e-mails, information, travel news and news.

Real world

Sue Burgess, 53, is one of the 9.2m adults in the UK (18% of the adult population) who has never used the internet, but she wants to get connected.

She said: "For [people] at 50, 60, around that area I think there's a lot of us that don't know how to use the internet.

"I think there's a lot like me that are embarrassed to ask because it makes you look stupid. Our generation just wasn't bought up like that.

"It's about going to places to learn, but thinking they are all going to be young people and then you're going to feel embarrassed - but hopefully it's not going to be like that - it'll be more my age going and it could be like a little get together."

WHO IS ONLINE?
9.2 million adults have never used the internet
60% of adults use the internet daily
Men are more likely than women to be online
60% of over 65s have never been online
Only 1% of 16 to 24-year-olds have never been online
19% of people in the South West of England have never been online
The number of people who have never used the internet has almost halved between 2006 and 2010

Joanna Strangwayes-Booth, 69, has just recently started using the internet.

She said: "Being online is one of the most important things in my life… I feel that everything that is going to happen is going to happen on one's computer or on the internet.

"You just have to be literate to access the world actually, otherwise you're going to be left on a limb and I think it's absolutely dreadful to be getting older and not understanding what on earth's going on.

"I think people of my age who use the internet get a tremendous amount out of it.

"They can look up legal fees, they can see what the government are doing, it's very helpful on the pension and also because I think that more and more and more of everything is going to go only online, and I think it's imperative that people of 55 now need to know what they're doing so when they're 70 or 80 they're able to keep in touch with the real world.

"That's what it does, I think it keeps you in touch with the real world."

Free courses

If you know someone who would like to sign up for a course, they can ring the free phone advice line 08000 150 950.

This is managed on behalf of BBC Learning by Next Step, and is open from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.

Martin Wilson, the BBC's head of media literacy, said: "There is so much available to the older generation online… finding bargain holidays, sending photos to family and friends by e-mail, looking up new recipes or finding out more about their hobbies and passions.

"We want everyone to enjoy what the internet has to offer and ensure no-one is left behind."




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